Banyana loss down to fitness

Linda Moreotsene

Linda Moreotsene

Banyana Banyana might have had a setback when they lost 3-2 to Namibia at the weekend, but that will count for nothing when the sixth CAF African Women's Championships gets under way in Equatorial Guinea next month.

Coach Augustine Makalakalane has blamed his players' lack of fitness for his side's first loss against the Namibians, and assured the country the loss does not spell disaster at the biennial tournament, which takes place from November 15-19.

Banyana join Nigeria, Ghana and Tunisia in Group A, as they yet again attempt to knock the Nigerians off their pedestal.

As they have done with virtually every women's competition on the continent, the Super Falcons have won this tournament five times since its inception in 1998.

In group B, the hosts have been drawn with Cameroon, Mali and Congo.

As he contemplates the road ahead, Makalakalane was hopeful that the return of his overseas players, among them Portia Modise and captain Veronica Phewa, will boost his team.

With a professional women's league still a pipe dream, most of the players last played five months ago.

"The girls were not up to scratch fitness-wise, and the Namibians, who have just finished their league, were quicker and fitter.

"That was the difference between them and us. My girls were rigid, slow to react and made poor decisions," he said.